Ball Squat For Leg, Back and Core Strength

Here Val demonstrates one of the February Five  – The Squat. This move strengthens your legs, back and core.

She is using a Swiss ball. There are many squat variations, wall squat, the yoga Chair pose, wide leg squat or Goddess pose. Often I will start my clients seated on the edge of a chair and have them stand up and sit back down. This is more difficult than it sounds if you are really using your core, keeping neck and shoulders relaxed, tracking knees over your feet, not past your toes, and keeping hips, knees and ankles lined up.

Val Squat 1 2.13

For this version start with your low back snug on the ball, feet parallel. Stack your shoulders over your hips – maintaining your lumbar curve – and relax your neck muscles.

Val Squat 2.13

Press your heels into the floor and your back against the ball as you bend your knees to sit into a squat. Now press into your heels to stand back up. If you have a mirror at your disposal check out your side view to see that you are keeping your alignment throughout the exercise.


 Anne McCranie is a Portland based personal trainer, massage therapist, and Pilates and yoga instructor. She sees clients in her Sellwood studio for one on one sessions as well as small group classes. Call her today to find out how her signature combination of movement and massage can help you live pain free (503) 705-4762.

Back Care Workshop Thursday January 24th at 7:30 pm at Sellwood Yoga

Ever have your low back go “out” or suffer from acute debilitating back pain? It’s no fun.

What is the very first thing you should do when your back goes into acute spasm? (*hint it’s not stretching) Should you apply ice or heat? Rest or move?

Bring your questions to Anne next Thursday January 24th for her Back Care Workshop. Learn the top five exercises to prevent and alleviate low back pain. Whether you suffer from the occasional twinge or chronic low back pain this class is for you.

There are only a few spots left so go to the Sellwood Yoga website and sign up today!

  • Thursday January 24th
  • 7:30 to 8:45 pm
  • Sellwood Yoga 7970B SE 13th Avenue between SE Miller Street and SE Nehalem Street, just a couple of blocks North of Tacoma St.
  • Bring your own mat if you like, there will be mats and other props available at the studio
  • Please dress in form fitting comfortable layers – we will work standing, lying on the floor, and seated

Want a preview? Check out this video featuring yours truly demonstrating a few moves on the foam roller.

Six Exercises to Relieve Low Back Pain

I had an interesting experience this week while training one of my couples. They had been out of town for a few weeks on a road trip so I was excited to see them and planned an awesome strength session which included some of the husband’s favorite leg exercises plus theraband, and Swiss ball moves. This couple is very athletic, getting in some form of activity- walking, elliptical, Pilates or strength work – most days of the week. My challenge in working with them is designing a program that they both enjoy that includes elements of stabilization, strength, cardio and flexibility while helping both of them reach their fitness goals.

When I arrived at their house the husband reported low back pain so I threw my plan out the window and we spent an hour working on basic stabilization exercises, core strength and flexibility. After our session they both felt like that got a good workout and stretch, and he reported reduced back pain. I learned to come prepared AND be prepared to adjust my plan based on what is going on with my client that day. If his back is feeling better this week we will resume a more rigorous strength program.

Do you suffer from low back pain?

Here is a video of yours truly demonstrating a basic back stabilization program that includes the following:


Thread the Needle

Lion Drinking


Single Leg Kick


Try going through these moves on your own and let me know if you have any questions.






Stand Up Right Now and Walk Around Your Desk!

Are you sitting at your desk? Have you been sitting there for several hours? Stand up right now and walk around your desk, or down the hall, or better yet go fill up your water bottle and take a few big gulps. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

This recent NPR article from New York Times columnist Gretchen Reynolds details a few simple ways you can combat the effects of a sedentary lifestyle. According to Reynolds:

“Sitting for long periods of time — when you don’t stand up, don’t move at all — tends to cause changes physiologically within your muscles. You stop breaking up fat in your bloodstream, you start getting accumulations of fat … in your liver, your heart and your brain. You get sleepy. You gain weight. You basically are much less healthy than if you’re moving.”

I would add that taking periodic breaks from your computer also reduces eye strain and lower back pain. Reynolds recommends standing for two minutes every 20 minutes while desk-bound — even if you can’t move around your office. She suggests getting a music stand to hold your papers and standing each time your phone rings. Are you a into cool software aps? Here are a few online tools to remind you to take periodic breaks from your computer. Plus the little EVO guy is pretty cute.

What tips have helped you be less sedentary?


Massage Therapy in Sellwood | Massage Therapist in SE Portland

Would you like to escape to a quiet, peaceful and warm space removed from the ringing of cell phones, returning of emails and answering of questions? A place where you can truly relax? Fluid Movement + Massage in Southeast Portland is your place.

We specialize in many types of massage and offer Pilates and yoga training from our Sellwood studio.

Massage is viewed in many cultures as part of a preventive health program. Although one massage will be enjoyable, the lasting effects of massage are cumulative and regular massage treatments are the best way to experience the positive health benefits.

At Fluid Movement + Massage, you can enjoy massage as a standalone service or in addition to strength sessions centered around yoga, Pilates and improving your core strength.

Looking for a gift? Treat your bride to be or birthday girl to some well-needed pampering. Want to reward your employees? Corporate chair massage available in 10 minute increments using no oil and working the head, neck, shoulders, back and hands.

Massage Menu

* Gift Certificates – available for thirty, sixty or ninety minutes. Ask about movement + massage packages
* Single session: $80
* Movement + Massage starter package: A six week intensive that includes five private Pilates or Yoga sessions plus a reward massage and home equipment (yoga mat, ball, or band): Call for pricing
* Corporate chair massage – call Anne for rates
* Fluid Tropical Vacations – join Anne in paradise for a relaxing week of Pilates, yoga, good food and fun.

Remind your body of how good it can feel! Contact us today to schedule your therapeutic massage.